Improvements have been promised after a broken lift effectively trapped elderly residents of a Lisburn Fold in their own homes for almost a fortnight.
One woman said her aged mother watched in tears as life went by outside the window. “Mum sat in here and cried her eyes out, watching everyone walking by outside, two weeks in a row,” she said.
Residents of Choice Housing’s Lillie Court, at Ballymacross Place off Knockmore Road, were in the end assured the lift would be repaired on Wednesday past, 13 days after it broke down on July 9. The social housing provider this week accepted repairs had taken too long and undertook to ensure problems were not repeated.
But Choice - an amalgam of three housing associations, including Oaklee, under which Lillie Court previously operated - came in for criticism amid claims it failed to properly engage with residents.
“There are almost 40 flats and half of them are upstairs,” said one angry relative. “We more or less had 20 older people trapped at home. No-one came to talk to them, to tell them what was going on.”
Relatives say too that problems with the lift are nothing new, claiming frequent breakdowns.
A Choice Housing spokesperson said: “In July a lift at Lillie Court experienced intermittent technical faults which Choice has responded to on each occasion.
“While the majority of issues were addressed quickly, the most recent problem has taken an unsatisfactorily long time to resolve due to a delay in the delivery of replacement parts over the public holiday. The repair was fully completed on Wednesday 22 July and will eliminate any further inconvenience to tenants.
“We accept this fault took too long to repair and will ensure such instances do not happen again. We have visited the scheme and met with some of our customers and apologised for the delay.
“We plan to visit all tenants in the development to explain this unacceptable delay and agree how we can improve our services in Lillie Court.”